Lot 14
  • 14

A RARE SILVER-GILT CORPORATION CUP SHAPED AS A LEAPING DEER BY HANS CASPAR GYGER, ZÜRICH, CIRCA 1640 | A rare silver-gilt corporation cup shaped as a leaping deer by Hans Caspar Gyger, Zürich, circa 1640

300,000 - 400,000 EUR
bidding is closed


on oval domed base with embossed mascarons, foliage on matted ground, and naturalistic elements, the deer textured to simulate fur, with removable head

Catalogue Note

Societies during the 16th and 17th centuries gave considerable importance to ceremonies. The animal-like goblets developed within this context were particularly popular in Germany and in neighboring countries including Switzerland. They served as a guild goblet or welcoming coupe for the rich members of these clubs. They were used during celebrations, and often adapted the shape of game, especially deer, for stag hunts were still the prerogative of nobility. The buck deer-shaped coupes appeared mainly in Augsburg throughout the 17th century, but most often these animals have one front leg lifted, the other three standing on the embankment, for example those by Elias Zorer circa 1586-1590, by Albrecht von Horn circa 1616-1620 or by Heinrich Mannlich circa 1680-1690. All three are illustrated in Helmut Seling's Die Kunst der Augsburger Goldschmiede 1529-1868, Band II, no. 149, 455, 456. Of course, we can also mention the leaping stag in the famous group where Diana rides a buck deer with coral antlers by Matthaus Wallbaum, circa 1600-1605, pictured in the first volume by Helmut Seling, print VII, or in an identical assemblage by Joachim Fries, circa 1615-1620, at Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, illustrated in Darmstadt Silberkammer, p. 33.

Hans Caspar Gyger's mark (1609-1676) can be found on other deer-shaped coupes mentioned in the publication by Eva-Maria Lösel, Zürcher Goldschmiedekunst, Zurich, 1983, pp. 204-205, No. 202 d-h-j and k. The number 202 h, dated 1645, is the only one to be illustrated (page 381, figure 101). Unlike the stags that we present, the animal is chained, and we can see similarities in the craftsmanship of the base, the hide and the deer's chest.